Press Conference Statement (2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, September 25, 1994, at 10 am.
Four tests for Election Commission to prove its independence and fulfilment of its constitutional responsibility to conduct ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections.
The Election Commission in Malaysia has not been fully independent as intended by the Malaysian Constitution to be able to fulfil its constitutional responsibility to conduct ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections.
There are four tests for the Election Commission to prove its independence and fulfilment of its constitutional responsibility to conduct ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections, namely:
Test No. 1: The Election Commission must be free, to decide on nomination and polling dates for general elections without having to act on the secret directive from the Prime Minister’s Office.
In 1990 for instance, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed announced on October 4 that Parliament would be dissolved the next day on October 5.
The Election Commission was in Ipoh at the time for a meeting, and when Parliament was dissolved on October 5 the Election Commission had to schedule an emergency meeting the same evening to announce the nomination in the next few days and’ polling dates of October 21 and 22.
The Election Commission has 60 days under the Malaysian Constitution to conduct general elections once Parliament is dissolved, and there is no reason ‘whatsoever, why the Election Commission had to meet in emergency session to fix immediate dates for nomination and polling unless there was a secret directive from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The only time when the Election Commission is quite free to determine nomination and polling dates is during by-elections, and this is why there have been occasions when by-elections are not called until one month after there had been a vacancy.
If the Election Commission is really independent, then it should be free to fix nomination and polling dates for general elections without having to act in haste to comply with a secret time-table decided by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Furthermore, the Election Commission should allow for an adequate period for general elections campaign between nomina¬tion and polling, or the election campaign becomes a farce for being so-unfair to the Opposition parties. There should be at least three full weeks for general elections campaign period between nomination and polling dates.
Test No. 2: Election Commission should produce a clean and honest electoral roll, removing all ‘phantom voters’ from the list.
Test No. 3: Election Commission must disqualify votes cast in a manner which violates the secrecy of the vote, as for example in the case of the 200,000 postal ballots as the military and security have refused to allow political parties and candidates to monitor the entire postal ballot voting process.
Test No. 4: Election Commission should have the power and the courage to summon an All-Party Conference to discuss how to make the next general elections the most ‘free, fair and clean’ general elections in Malaysian history.
Why is there no Chinese member in the Saham Sabah Berhad Board of Directors.
What is the use of the Barisan Nasional talking about rotating the post of the Sabah Chief Minister among the Malays, Kadazans, and Chinese in future, when the Sabah Barisan Nasional State Government has become so insensitive as not to appoint any Chinese to the Board of the Saham Sabah Berhad.
Sabah Chief Minister, Sankaran Dandai announced yesterday that the Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Mohammad Salleh Tun Said, has been reappointed as Saham Sabah Berhad chairman and that the former State Secretary, Tan Sri Hamid Egoh would be appointed Saham Sabah Deputy Chairman.
The follows the veto by the Bank Negara to the earlier Sabah State Government decision to appoint the State UMNO Youth Chief, Datuk Shafie Apdal as Saham Sabah Chairman and businessman Datuk Joseph Ambrose Lee as Saham Sabah Deputy Chairman, on the ground of conflict of interest by virtue of their having interests in several public listed companies.
The other directors of Saham Sabah are State Secretary, Datuk Khalil Jamalul, State Treasurer Hassan Otoi, a local banker James Sanggang and Zahir Datuk Haji Ahmad.
Saham Sabah has a porforlio of 500 million shares, with an allocation of 75 per cent for bumiputeras and the balance for non-bumiputeras. Before the Board of Saham Sabah holds its first meeting, the Sabah Cabinet should, ensure that the board reflects all communities in Sabah by appointing a Sabah Chinese onto the board.